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Mike Richard: Morty 2 (for Lucky and Merv) (2000)
for improvising pianist

Download Morty 2 (for Lucky and Merv) here: mfmorty2.mid (114K).
The file is in MIDI audio format. It can be played using Windows Media Player, Real Player or Apple QuickTime. The piece lasts 31:46 minutes. The composer writes:

Here is an improvisation I recorded on keyboard on April 1, 2000, in the Hollywood Hills when I was on vacation. It is the second in a potentially ongoing Morty series. (I plan to expand the instrumentation and work with others on Morty 3.)

I feel that Morty 2 is very 1981 Feldman: "Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano" and "Triadic Memories" are what I hear influencing me. Not to mention stuff that doesn't emulate Feldman, but is my own invention. There is as much tongue-in-cheek or dead-pan humor as there is darkness, emotion (restraint usually), or melancholy. Those are the type of "angular edges" or sharp contrasts in the "Untitled Composition for Cello and Piano" which I love, especially when beautiful, vaguely heart-wrenching moments appear out of nowhere like an opaque, anti-representational, angelic apparition briefly amidst or apart from much intense, poly-rhythmic, or quick extremes of register.

For me, improvisation is also an interesting process before the form type of "open-form" art-music making, an effective way to get results without trying to. Feldman has been critiqued by Tom DeLio in this context, by writing in "Response to Blaustein" (an essay in Perspectives on Musical Aesthetics edited by John Rahn): "Feldman is able to project an illusion of ... no apparent structuring of sound prior to its actual unfolding in time." (Illusion is the key word.)

Morty 2 is also for Lucky (Stephen Lucky Mosko). Mosko's "Indigenous Music" and "For Morton Feldman" have also been influencing me lately.

And Morty 2 is also for Merv because I was improvising and didn't know Merv was recording me until 15 minutes into it. If it wasn't for Merv, Morty 2 would have blown off into the warm air of the Hollywood Hills, which it did naturally as well, anyways.

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